Former India international and Indian Premier League (IPL) legend Ambati Rayudu on Monday said his career would not have been possible without the support of his family, especially his father Sambasiva Rao, and listed representing India as the most cherished moments of his two-decade-long "wonderful journey" as a cricketer.
Rayudu, who had two days back announced that the final of IPL 2023 will be his last outing as a cricketer, played a crucial role as Chennai Super Kings overcame Gujarat Titans by five wickets via the DLS method in a rain-truncated rescheduled encounter to claim his sixth IPL title on Sunday night.
Rayudu said his retirement could not have come a better night and in a better way.
"It has been an emotional night that culminated in a special IPL win. On that high note, I would like to announce my retirement from all forms of Indian cricket. When I took up the cricket bat as a kid playing with the tennis ball at home, I didn't imagine the wonderful journey that would follow for more than two decades," Rayudu penned in a statement released on Monday.
The 37-year-old Guntur-born cricketer said he considers representing India his greatest honour.
"I consider it my greatest honour to have represented my country from the Under-19 to the highest level. I still remember the day I received my India cap for the first time in 2013 - it is a memory I will cherish forever," he said.
Rayudu thanked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Andhra Cricket Association
(ACA), The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) and the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) for showing faith in his ability and providing him with the opportunity to express himself on the field.
On the occasion, Rayudu also thanked the two IPL teams that he played for -- Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. "I am proud to finish my career as a six-time IPL winner," he said.
"Being a part of Mumbai Indians' first-ever IPL win in 2013 as well as winning the IPL title with Chennai Super Kings in 2018, 2021 and of course, 2023 are memories that will stay with me forever.
"It has also been a great privilege to play with captain MS Dhoni both with CSK and Team India. We have had some great memories over the last two decades both on and off the field, which I will always cherish," said Rayudu.
Rayudu also thanked his teammates, support staff, and all the coaches from his childhood for helping him come so far.
"Thanks to all my teammates, support staff, fans and all the coaches from my early days - this memorable journey of mine would not have been fulfilling without all of you. Thank you for being by my side through the ups and downs. Your encouragement meant a lot to me," he said signing off his statement with a "See you on the other side" message.